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Sep 12, 2008 (DVB), A judgment is due to be reached by military authorities tomorrow on an army officer who has been accused of attempting to rape a female doctor helping survivors of Cyclone Nargis in Irrawaddy division.
The incident took place on 5 September at around 10.30pm on a touring medical ship, the Widuya, which was docked in Laputta, according to local residents who did not want to be named.
The Widuya was carrying 30 medical staff, including divisional doctors and specialists, who have been touring Irrawaddy division over the past few months treating patients.
When the ship stopped at Laputta for the night, captain Kyaw San Win of the logistics corps, boarded and went into the cabin of a female doctor, a 40-year-old paediatrician, on the pretext of checking her guest registration.
When he refused to leave, the doctor shouted for help and other doctors and medical staff nearby came to her rescue.
They tried to detain the officer but he managed to escape. He was thought to be drunk at the time.
Ten minutes later, Kyaw San Win came back with about a dozen of his soldiers, shouting abuse and threatening to shoot and sink the ship.
The doctors informed the local township authorities who took him away.
Kyaw San Win is now being detained at an army camp and is being questioned by military officials from Einmeh Strategic Command.
He is to hear their verdict tomorrow on the case, which has aroused a great deal of local interest.
According to an unnamed local resident, the incident shocked many people who believed that instances of rape and sexual assault are confined to the border regions of Burma, where cases of ethnic minority women being raped by soldiers have been well documented.
A case involving a 15-year-old Kachin girl, who was gang raped and murdered by Burmese army troops in July, caused widespread outrage.
The resident said that people are now worried that these kinds of attacks are becoming more prevalent in the towns.
When DVB called Laputta police station for comment, township police sergeant Khin Htay denied that the incident had taken place.
Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw and Nan Kham Kaew